Related Program: Refugee & Immigration Services
Refugee & Immigration Services (RIS)
80 Sherman Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Older refugees have difficulty adjusting to life in the United States. Much of the problem is due to the language barrier and cultural differences. In addition, they suffer separation from families and social networks, and the loss of traditional roles as elders. The Services to Older Refugees Program (SOR) at Refugee & Immigration Services (RIS) can help older refugees overcome these deficits through a culturally sensitive volunteer matching program that builds trust with older refugees and supports their ability to live healthy and productive lives. Through this support we seek to increase older refugees’ self-esteem, reduce their experience of isolation, and improve their daily functioning.
The Senior Companion Program matches volunteers with older refugees ages 60+ and focuses on the unique needs of older refugees whose age and health often significantly impact their ability to adjust to life in Maine. As a Senior Companion you will have the opportunity to tutor basic conversational English skills on a one-on-one basis. Weekly visits will offer the opportunity to support your older refugee to become familiar with American cultural norms and practices, as well as helping them to negotiate the various practical demands of daily life.
Weekly visits (1-2 hours) to an older refugee’s home to welcome them to Maine, to help them with day-to-day functional English, and help them to adjust to their new surroundings by getting out into the community.
Qualifications & Skills Required:
At least 21 years old
Online agency-wide training
In-person training at Refuge & Immigration Services program- TBD
Ongoing supervision and support from Services to Older Refugees program coordinator
Minimum of 1-2 hours per week for 6-12 months.
Tracy Moore, Services to Older Refugees Coordinator